Keep CanDo 'boat' afloat

A BUNCH of people who bit off more than they could chew and chewed like blazes have pushed the CanDo boat out from shore.

Now it is up to the community to keep it moving.

On Friday the Coffs Harbour North Coast Cancer Institute (NCCI) hosted the launch of the CanDo Cancer Trust’s new program to help Coffs Coast cancer patients meet their ongoing financial commitments

A crowd of about 50 people involved in all aspects of local cancer services attended the launch and morning tea.

Set up by NCCI and Haematology Unit staff, senior social worker Andria Sylvester and nurse unit manager Jill Harrington in partnership with retired palliative care nurse Jane Glover, the CanDo Cancer Trust has been established with $100,000 raised by the Freemasons.

Andria Sylvester said the initiative was designed to help patients of the NCCI and Haematology Unit, including people with non-malignant haematological conditions, who were experiencing financial hardship.

She said the Trust would make a huge difference not only to patients but to social workers who could now provide quick and direct support, giving their jobs an extra dimension.

The chair of the Trust, Julie Jardine, said they estimated they would need to raise about $60,000 every year to keep the Trust topped up and keep pace with the expected increase in demand, with four families a month from Grafton to Nambucca expected to access the Trust in its first year and numbers growing rapidly.

She said recent changes to government funding also meant some medicines were no longer provided free to patients.

Cancer specialist Dr Rahim Tahir said some useful neuropathic pain relief drugs not on the PBS cost patients $80 a month but made a huge difference to their comfort.

One key player not able to be present for the launch was Jane Glover, who received glowing tributes for her capable and energetic work in establishing the Trust

“Jane has considerable experience working on a voluntary basis in fundraising and other local projects, so Jill and I approached her to discuss ways in which we could help patients who were worried about additional expenses while they were undergoing treatment,” said Andria Sylvester.

“Jane turned the concept into a reality and approached members of Freemasons who pledged to raise $100,000 to kick off the Trust.”

For more information on the CanDo program contact Andria Sylvester on 6656 5743

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